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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 
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In Bruce Wilson's "Welcome to Talk to Action," he says, "Talk To Action is an online publication, and a forum for discussion, that is focused with unparalleled intensity on the rise of the Christian right as a social and political force - and on what those who are opposed to that movement can do to counter it." Wilson co-founded the site with Frederick Clarkson, who "has been researching [and] writing on the Christian right for many years." The site's Statement of Purpose begins:
Talk to Action is a platform for reporting on, learning about, and analyzing and discussing the religious right -- and what to do about it.
I don't know why this strikes me as a fascinating reason for a Web site. When you think about it, the Christian right's organized (and unnervingly successful) attempts to control national policy on a wide range of issues lends itself to an organized resistance. I'd just never stumbled across evidence of such specific resistance. From my brief scan of the site's contents (I plan to go back), it looks like they're doing a pretty good job of it, too.

What led me to Talk to Action was actually a Google Alert on the topic "embryonic stem cell." Among the items returned by the search engine was an article by Frank Cocozzelli entitled "IPC Releases White Paper on Neocon War on Embryonic Stem Cell Research." The reader finds out, about midway through the column, that Cocozzelli is the director of "a newly formed think tank, the Institute for Progressive Christianity ("IPC"). IPC defines its mission as follows:

To further awareness and understanding that the progressive tradition is rooted in core Christian gospel values, and to relate that tradition to personal faith, public policy, family, and the common good."
Apparently there's a lot more going on in this area than I knew about. I was vaguely aware of various Catholic groups formed to disagree with particular points of church doctrine, like Catholics for a Free Choice, and its off-shoot, Condoms4Life.org. I'd heard rumblings of various women's groups against fundamentalist teachings, and I knew about Jim Wallis' book, God's Politics: Why the American Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. But I didn't know how active the Christian right resistance had really become. Make time to visit Talk to Action. No matter which side of the debate you fall on, there's some interesting reading waiting for you.

Case in point -- the column that led me there in the first place. Cocozzelli, the author, is also an attorney who was diagnosed with LMG muscular dystrophy in 1985. He has a vested interest in stem cell research. The beginning of his column tells us a little about living with a neuromuscular disease:
Neuromuscular disease is often an ordeal that just doesn't adversely affect the patient, but his friends and family. To provide you with some context, let me explain what my family goes through to keep my law practice going.

Monday through Friday my wife wakes up at 5 A.M. and gets herself ready for work. An hour later she wakes me up then dresses me for court. As since my body does not mostly move of it own volition, she must roll me back and forth to get my pants on, lift me onto a slide board to get me into my wheelchair, lift my arms to get my shirt on and then knot my tie. Then after she gives me breakfast, she attends to getting our kids ready for school. She does all this before working an eight-hour day. I usually leave for court shortly thereafter driven either by my father my uncle or Chris, my driver.
Later on, he says:
But what I did not understand at the time was how the opposition to embryonic stem cell research was being organized and mostly driven by the very same neoconservatives who helped push this nation into the poorly chosen war in Iraq. Too many of us just don't understand that the neoconservative movement is just not about foreign policy, but domestic policy. The battle over embryonic stem cell research simply emphasizes that point.
This realization eventually led to his co-authoring "a White Paper for IPC entitled, "An Unholy Alliance: How Neoconservatives and the Religious Right Have Joined Forces to Fight Stem Cell Research." The link takes you to a 22-page document in PDF format.

You can also read the rest of Frank Cocozzelli's column here.

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